April 10, 2005
Test Tube Gorilla Not Bonding With Newborn
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) -- The world's first test tube gorilla is not bonding with her new daughter, zoo officials said Saturday. Timu, a 9-year-old Western lowland gorilla, took care of her newborn for a few hours after Friday's birth, but then lost interest, said Dr. Lee Simmons, director of the Henry Doorly Zoo.
Timu was hand-raised, which makes it hard for her to bond with her offspring, Simmons said.
The baby will be hand-raised and given to a surrogate gorilla mother in hopes that Timu will learn from watching that relationship and will be a better mother when she has another baby, Simmons said.
Timu also failed to bond with her first baby, Bambino, who was born at the zoo in August 2003. That baby also had to be hand-raised.
The surrogate mother is expected to be Rosie, the gorilla who gave birth to Timu in 1996 through in vitro fertilization, Simmons said.
Like many gorilla species, the Western lowland gorilla is endangered, Simmons said. Assisted reproduction is used in an effort to sustain their numbers and keep them genetically healthy, Simmons said.
Simmons said he does not know of any other successful attempt to create a test tube gorilla.
On the Net:
Henry Doorly Zoo: http://www.omahazoo.com/